Here Is Nielsen’s Attempt at a Unified Cross-Platform Rating

/ Oct 28, 2013


For a long time, TV programmers have been clamoring for Nielsen to find a way to incorporate digital viewership into their traditional TV ratings — the reason obviously being that this would provide a more accurate barometer of how many people are watching a certain network show.

Similarly, there have been a lot of online video programmers who have wanted Nielsen to find a way to measure their content in a manner comparable to TV. The idea here is that this would make TV advertisers more comfortable with buying online video, if they are able to compare online content with TV shows in some sort of “apples-to-apples” basis.

Over the past year, Nielsen has made it known that it’s developing a product that would allow TV programmers to integrate digital video viewing into TV ratings. Today, the company announced that it will soon roll out a single SDK designed to support both digital viewing of TV content as well as web-native content.

“We’ve been working hard to deliver this new SDK and are excited to be able to deliver a single client solution that supports both the linear (TV style) and dynamic (internet style) ad models,” said Megan Clarken, EVP and global product leader at Nielsen, in a statement. “This unified encoding approach for video enables measurement to follow content across screens and ad models.”

Specifically, Nielsen said that digital content that meets certain ad load and timeline requirements will be pumped into its TV ratings. Digital content that is not eligible — whether that’s due to “elapsed crediting time, dynamic ad insertion, or because it originated from the web itself” — will be figured into Nielsen’s Digital Program Ratings. Unless it’s ad content, then it will be measured by Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings.

To measure this digital/mobile viewing, Nielsen said it plans to use a mix of big data and census-style measurement that matches demographic information via data providers like Facebook.

The SDK will be available in mid-November.

Here’s a graphic from Nielsen which takes all of what I said and turns it into a colorful chart:


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